Brooklyn schools to double down on anti bias training

Borough officials are upping their efforts to crack down on hate incidents.
Photo by Todd Maisel

The Anti Defamation League is ramping up its efforts to promote tolerance in Brooklyn with its “No Place for Hate” program, and education-based effort that is currently in place at 22 schools throughout the borough — and will soon expand to 40 schools during the current school year, according to the League’s CEO

“It is so important to focus on children so we can inoculate them from intolerance,” said Jonathan Greenblatt. “So we can immunize them from anti-semitism.” 

The program comes as anti-semitic hate crimes continue to rise across the city — with over 300 hate crimes reported citywide through September. 

Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.
Photo by Todd Maisel

Many of the crimes are perpetrated by young people — including an egging incident in Kensington over the weekend, which local leaders said made early education all the more important. 

“Young people do not come from their mother’s womb hating jews, hating gays, hating blacks, hating Muslims,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adam, whose office is providing funding towards the initiative. “They are learning it somewhere.” 

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, whose office has a dedicated hate crime bureau, echoed the need for early education. 

“It’s astounding. It’s heartbreaking that our young people are filled with this rage,” he said. 

And while law enforcement plays a significant role in stoping these crimes, according to Greenblatt, combating their root causes is both more important and more effective.

“We can’t just arrest our way out of a problem,” he said. “We have to change hearts and minds.”

No Place for Hate, which has been a nationwide program since 1999, aims to combat hate through inclusion, bias training and anti-bullying training. The program currently reaches over 8,000 Kings County students. The expansion will have an emphasis on schools in Crown Heights, Borough Park and Williamsburg, large Jewish communities where hate crimes have spiked recently.